A Few Spring and Summer Wildflowers

Spring and Summer Wildflowers – this Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) was found blooming at Williams Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

siberian miners lettuce claytonia sibirica flowers

Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) Flowering (Purchase)

I’ve photographed a few species of wildflowers in parks near where I live this spring and summer, and I thought I’d put them all in one post. The above photograph is a Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) plant I found blooming this spring at Williams Park in Langley, BC. I photographed the Miner’s Lettuce during one of my first tentative trips out to photograph after being mostly at home due to the pandemic. I’ve usually seen Siberian Miner’s Lettuce in closer proximity to each other, but this one was standing almost alone so I could isolate it in the photograph.

Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris)

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Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris) Flowers (Purchase)

I photographed these Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris) flowers this summer in a field at Campbell Valley Regional Park. I hadn’t explored this particular part of the park before, so I didn’t have any expectations. I had a close encounter with a very healthy looking Coyote while it was hunting in the field, but this came as I had a wide angle lens on my camera (of course). It stayed around long enough for me to switch to a 100-400 but when I slowly stood up again to see if it was there it ran off. However, I kept the 100-400 on for the remaining time I had in the field and photographed these Hawksbeard flowers using that lens. I stay on trails, so the longer focal length (318mm) I was able to use here came in handy. While I bought it for wildlife this lens can make a small subject like wildflowers feel pretty close even though I’m many feet away.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)

tufted vetch vicia cracca with bumblebees

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) Flowers Visited by Bumblebees (Purchase)

I photographed this Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) in the same Campbell Valley Park field this spring while it was being visited by a few bumblebees. This was from 2.45 meters (8 feet) away – so I was glad to have the longer lens. I made a few photographs of various Vetch plants in the field, but the bumblebees really seemed to love this one, so I stuck with it and was happy to get some photos with multiple bees at once.

Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum)

I have only seen Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum) blooming in the wild once before – and that was on Vancouver Island near Port Alberni (Stamp River Falls) in 2013. So when I found these flowers in the forest next to a trail early this summer in Aldergrove Regional Park I was glad I had my camera with me. Also known as the Columbia Lily or Oregon Lily – Tiger Lilies were eaten by the Coast Salish people usually as a flavouring or condiment. The very green maple leaves mixed in appear to belong to a young Vine Maple tree.

tiger lilies blooming flowers

Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum) in Aldergrove Regional Park (Purchase)

Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum)

I photographed these Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum) flowers and leaves on the forest floor at Campbell Valley Regional Park while photographing the Barred Owl owlets a few weeks ago. I usually notice Avens when the velcro like hooks on the seeds grab onto my clothing and come home for a ride. This method of seed distribution seems quite effective though I am probably not the target animal for that kind of distribution. This time, however, they were flowering right next to the trail where I was photographing the owls, so I took a break from recording owl screeching sounds to photograph a few flowers near the trail.

large leaved avens flowers geum macrophyllum

Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum) flowers and leaves (Purchase)

You can see these and more photographs of spring and summer wildflowers in my Wildflower Photos Gallery.

Stream Violet (Viola gabella) Flowers in Golden Ears Park

A pair of Stream Violet (Viola gabella) flowers at Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

stream violet flowers viola gabella at golden ears park

Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Park (Purchase)

I haven’t shared any wildflower photographs here in a while so I thought I’d post these Stream Violet flowers (Viola gabella) I came across a few weeks ago. Now that the spring rains are here I’ve not been out walking as much, so I took the opportunity on this day to get out and walk about 10km in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Along one of the trails near Gold Creek I saw these Stream Violets blooming but for some reason didn’t photograph them until I passed them again on the way back. I was mainly out for the exercise and to scout one location but I had my camera with me of course.

stream violet flower viola gabella at golden ears park

Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

Stream Violets and a few other species of yellow flowered Viola here in BC are a bit difficult to ID, but I think these are the correct species. The Stream Violets go by other names as well – Yellow Wood Violet and Pioneer Violet. These Violets tend to grow along streams or in moist areas in forests, which were the conditions I found them in along Gold Creek.

You can see more wildflower photographs in my Wildflower Gallery.

Lower Falls Trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park

I have a batch of newer images from this location in this post: Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park.

Lower Falls and the emerald pools of Gold Creek at Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

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Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   One of the easier hikes to do in Golden Ears Provincial Park is the Lower Falls Trail (map) along Gold Creek. The trailhead is easy to find at the northwest end of the parking lot (the grey spot just after the Gold Creek Bridge on the map linked earlier). This hike is only 5.5km (round trip) and has minimal elevation change which makes it much more accessible than some of the other trails in Golden Ears Park. The trail has also been upgraded in recent years, so much of it is crushed gravel. Personally I dislike walking on crushed gravel and prefer a natural trail even with tree roots, slugs and the occasional puddle. I guess the resurfacing does have some benefit in initial parts of the trail that were often filled with puddles and mud in the spring and fall, but I would have preferred they left the rest as is. I have previously hiked to Alder Flats on a number of occasions, and while that is a nice hike, it doesn’t have the scenery one gets to enjoy along the much easier Lower Falls Trail.

   After walking about 1km up the trail from the parking lot I came to the first spot where I stopped for photography. There are many small side trails down to the creek along the entire Lower Falls Trail (be sure to follow those instead of making your own). My first stop was only about 5 meters from the trail and showed a nice summer view of Gold Creek. This looks to be a good spot to stop during fall foliage colors as well.

   My next stop was probably the most famous spot along the Lower Falls Trail – the viewpoint where one can see Gold Creek and parts of Mount Blandshard. Just before this viewpoint you’ll see a number of side trails to a beach which is a great spot to stop and eat lunch or just relax.

lower falls and gold creek with a flowering streambank arnica

Lower Falls and Streambank Arnica (Purchase)

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   After a 10-15 minute walk from the viewpoint I arrived at my ultimate destination: Lower Falls itself. The water levels shown here are probably more typical in late August, but were this low in late June due to our lack of winter snowpack in the mountains and a drought this spring/summer. In normal years this waterfall will be a raging torrent in fall, winter and spring – and can be quite dangerous. I was able to get up on a rock and photograph Lower Falls from a nice vantage point but only due to the lower water levels and lack of strong currents (and depth) in the water below. In far too many of the past years people have fallen into the water at various points in Gold Creek and died as a result.

   Many of the cracks in the rocks near Lower Falls had Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) growing in them. I was lucky that one of the Arnica plants was in a good position to include in the above composition along with the waterfall. On my way back to the main viewing platform I photographed one of the other Streambank Arnica plants growing in a crack in one of the boulders beneath the falls.

streambank arnica growing out of rocks near lower falls

Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) flowering next to Lower Falls (Purchase)

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For more of my photographs from the Golden Ears area visit my Golden Ears Provincial Park Gallery.

Hiking in the Wildflowers at Mount Rainier National Park

Hiking in the wildflowers around Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

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Hiking in the Wildflowers at Mount Rainier’s Tipsoo Lake

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Due to the very dry, hot spring/summer which has come after a winter with a lower than normal snowpack, I hear the wildflowers are nearing (or at) peak now at Mount Rainier (July 1, 2015).

   2012 was the first time I visited Mount Rainier National Park during the height of the wildflowers in the Paradise and Tipsoo Lake areas. I had been to Rainier a few times at that point, but once you see fields of wildflowers this dense it becomes harder to visit any other time of year. I made this image of 3 hikers near Tipsoo Lake on a foggy afternoon which made for perfect conditions to photograph this location.

For more wildflower photographs from this and other visits to the park please take a look at my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Bigleaf Lupines at Elgin Heritage Park

Bigleaf Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus) in the forest at Elgin Heritage Park in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

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Bigleaf Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) at Elgin Heritage Park in Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   These are some of the numerous Bigleaf Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus) growing in Elgin Heritage Park in Surrey, BC. On my way to photograph Red-winged Blackbirds in the marsh boardwalk, I stopped to photograph these lupines growing in some of the meadows along the way. I’ve mostly seen these lupines on the roadsides around Metro Vancouver and into the Fraser Valley, so it was nice to see them in relatively photogenic location.

bigleaf lupines at elgin heritage park in crescent beach

“Barn” nesting space for Barn Owls at Elgin Heritage Park (Purchase)

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   This is a small “barn” built in Elgin Heritage Park to encourage nesting Barn Owls. This seems like a good location for owls, I saw many small rodents (and not just baby rabbits) around the trails, especially under the boardwalk in the marsh.

For more of my wildflower photography please visit my Wildflower Gallery in my Image Library.

Mount Rainier from Sunrise

Mount Rainier and the White River Valley in late Summer from the vantage point of the Sunrise Rim Trail in Mount Rainier National Park. Foreground flowers are Alpine Aster (Aster alpigenus) and Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora).

mount rainier and wildflowers from the sunrise rim trail

Wildflowers at Mount Rainier’s Sunrise Rim Trail (Purchase)

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   Back in 2012 I was on a trip photographing Mount Rainier National Park. This was the first time I had visited at a good time for the wildflower display at Rainier. I had already photographed some great flower displays at Tipsoo Lake, but was visiting the Sunrise area as Paradise was fogged in. You can’t see any of the clouds in this photograph but on the other side of the mountain visibility was very poor all day. From Paradise you could barely make out the Tatoosh Range through all the clouds. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the fact they have web cameras at various areas of the park – I can scout the locations ahead for time for weather that might be a problem. On this day I opted for the Sunrise area over Paradise (due to what I saw on the webcam) so I would be able to see Rainier itself. This photo is from the Sunrise Rim Trail on the way back from Shadow Lake.

For more images of this area visit my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery in my Image Library.

Tatoosh Sunset from Mazama Ridge

Wildflowers and the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

sunset at the tatoosh range on mazama ridge in rainier national park

Wildflowers on Mazama Ridge (Purchase)

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   A slightly different version of some previous photographs of the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge in Washington State’s Mount Rainier National Park. I had a great evening hiking from the Paradise area, and this sunset was a big part of that. This area remains one of my favourite places in the park, and the near constant view of the Tatoosh Range is one big reason why. Wildflowers also help. Next time I will hike from the Paradise Inn, not from the bottom of Paradise Valley, however. Not a forgiving trail in the dark!

You can view more of my photography from this and surrounding Mount Rainier areas in my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Mazama Ridge in Mount Rainier National Park

   Sunset over the Cascade Range from the Skyline Trail on Mazama Ridge. The Paradise Inn, Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center and Paradise Valley Road are in the foreground – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

sunset over mount rainier national park from mazama ridge

Sunset in Mount Rainier National Park from the Skyline Trail on Mazama Ridge (Purchase)

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   On the first day of my trip to Mount Rainier National Park last year I hiked up to Mazama Ridge. I’d seen a number of photographs from there before, and it looked like a good place to start exploring the area around Paradise – beyond the views available from the roadside. I parked at the small lot (elevation: 5250 feet or 1600 meters) near the Paradise River bridge in Paradise Valley, and hiked up the Fourth Crossing Trail. I’ve been part way up this trail in the past, and though parts of it feel a lot like climbing stairs much of this is right next to the Paradise River which makes it a bit more pleasant. The Fourth Crossing Trail eventually meets up with the Skyline Trail after a climb of around 250 feet (76 m) in elevation. If I had to do this again I would park near the Paradise Inn and walk the Skyline trail from there rather than heading back down to my car along the Fourth Crossing Trail in the dark.

   From the junction of the Skyline and Fourth Crossing trails there is a series of switchbacks to get you up to Mazama Ridge (at an elevation of around 5800 feet (1770m)). The Skyline Trail then comes to a junction with the Lakes Trail (which Google refers to as the Mazama Ridge Trail). As I was still primarily scouting I headed down the Lakes Trail in search of wildflowers and places to photograph. This trail heads downhill gently at first, but if you wish it will take you all the way down to Reflection Lakes. The panorama below is a view of the Tatoosh Range before the trail gets down into the trees.

the tatoosh range from mazama ridge

Summer wildflowers and the Tatoosh Range (Purchase)

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   This stretch of the Lakes Trail is also where some of the iconic views of Mount Rainier with wildflowers are found. If you do hike this trail, or any of these trails in Mount Rainier National Park please don’t trample the wildflowers or other foliage along the trails. The “keep on the trail” signs are around for a reason as some visitors to these sensitive areas seem to see nothing wrong with wandering off the trail and crushing the wildflowers. It was at this point in the trail I was talking to one of the park volunteers and we noticed some moron about 50 feet off the trail behind us trampling through the wildflower field. If that wasn’t bad enough, he was dragging an aluminum stepladder around up there. After I’d left up the Skyline Trail I ran into the volunteer again – he’d given the stepladder guy a good lecture. This really shouldn’t be necessary…

   After making a few photographs along the Lakes Trail I headed back up to the junction with the Skyline Trail. I scouted the Skyline Trail up past the Stevens Van Trump Historic Monument at which point the light turned the sky a nice colour and the shadows disappeared from the foreground. At this elevation the Tatoosh Range comes into a better view compared to lower down on the Lakes Trail. I’ve said this before but often I prefer photographing the Tatoosh Range over Rainier itself – especially when in the Paradise area. I wrote a bit more about this in an earlier post featuring a panorama of the tatoosh range. Rainier takes up a lot of the sky and can be tough to photograph backlit by the sunset in the evenings. Dawn would probably be an ideal time, but I’m saving that for when I actually stay at the Paradise Inn or relatively nearby.

the tatoosh range from mazama ridge

Summer wildflowers on Mazama Ridge (Purchase)

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   I had seen a few photographs with the shadows of mountains at sunrise and sunset, but hadn’t give it much thought in terms of finding this phenomenon myself. It was on Mazama Ridge I saw this for the first time. The dark blue in the sky is the shadow of Mount Rainier cast down towards Stevens Valley and the Cascade mountains to the east.

the shadow of mount rainier from mazama ridge

The Shadow of Mount Rainier from Mazama Ridge (Purchase)

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   I’ve shown the following image before, but I think it remains my favourite of all the images I made that evening on Mazama Ridge. A lot of Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora) in the foreground (as opposed to the usually dominant Lupines) and great sunset colours in the sky. This was near the intersection of the Skyline Trail and the Paradise Glacier Trail.

wildflowers and the tatoosh range from mazama ridges skyline trail in mount rainier national park

Rainier Wildflowers and the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge.
Wildflower species include Broadleaf Lupine (Lupinus latifolius), Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora) and Western Anenome seedheads (Anenome occidentalis) (Purchase)

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   You may also be interested in my report from the area north of the Paradise Inn – The Skyline Trail and the Golden Gate Trail and the Mount Rainier National Park gallery in my image archive.